Opening Day at the UN...
Anne Bayefsky is the best observer of what goes on at the UN.
The real surprise of the day, however, was President George W. Bush. Last year at this time the president issued a list of reforms he expected from the U.N. in the near future: a new human-rights body which didn’t count abusers among its members, a comprehensive treaty against terrorism, meaningful institutional reforms in the area of oversight, accountability, efficiency. Not one of those demands has been met, but instead of issuing a failing grade, the president said nothing at all about U.N. reform. On Iran, the most he could muster was “Iran must abandon its nuclear-weapons ambitions.” No talk of sanctions. No mention of consequences for Iran’s obvious refusal to abandon those ambitions. On Hamas he said “the world is waiting to see whether the Hamas government will…pursue an extremist agenda.” Waiting to see? Just how many rocket attacks, kidnappings, speeches inciting racial hatred and violence, or murders does it take be an extremist? And on the Palestinian-Israeli front he said “the Palestinian people have suffered from…the daily humiliation of occupation” — the exact language of…yes, Kofi Annan.
No doubt, given the hostility of the U.N. forum toward America, nothing but obsequious babble from an American president would be well-received. Which is exactly the real and present danger of the U.N. — only by running from who we are will we win a popularity contest at the U.N. It is a competition we shouldn’t have entered.